So, I was looking at my hypothetical lineup from a few hours ago, and I thought to myself: "Gee whiz. Several players on my shortlist for the worst in baseball are in that lineup!" To see exactly how awful this lineup was, I looked up WAR leader-boards on fangraphs, in reverse. Most of you are probably familiar with Wins Above Replacement (WAR)--it's a cumulative stat, measuring hitting and fielding, that uses your typical AAA scrub as a baseline. For instance, last season, Anderson Hernandez , a player who can neither hit nor field very well, was exactly 0 WAR, replacement level.
So taking all major league batters with at least 300 PA last season, I found that:
- With Gary Matthews in the lineup, the Mets are the only team in baseball to have 3 sub-replacement players in their opening day lineup.
- Just counting Jacobs and Cora, they would tie the Royals, and White Sox for 2 sub-replacement players in their opening day lineup. In the Chicago's defense, theirs are Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin, two very fine outfielders, who were hurt.
- Speaking of the Royals, they had 3 sub-replacement players in their lineup last year. Then they cut Mike Jacobs for not being good enough. They won 65 games!
- The Royals also will have 3 sub-replacement players on their roster this year, but have the decency to keep the third on the bench most of the time.
- With three sub-replacement players, the Mets are starting 1/9th of all the sub-replacement players in the league. Francoeur narrowly missed, due to his improved performance with the Mets.
- There were 257 qualified players who were better than sub-replacement last season. In theory, there are 254 starting jobs open for hitters in baseball.
- The Mariners had 4 sub-replacement players in their lineup the year they lost 101 games and fired Bill Bavasi. You guys remember Jeremy Reed, right? I'm calling shenanigans, though, since they got the DH spot to stash Jose Vidro!